Varian S. - Employment Success Story
In the past, I worked at Bob’s Discount Furniture because my Job Coach got me a job there. They said I would do Data Entry, but I never did. I did vacuuming, Dusting, Building Furniture and changing light bulbs. It was a good job with good pay and good benefits. Every time I walked by the desk I said I can do a job like that. I said to myself I can do more then just vacuuming, dusting, Building Furniture, and changing light bulbs. I was in the DMR Office one day and saw a job posting for a Self Advocate Coordinator. I applied for the job. I think my first Job Coach didn’t believe I could do something like that. It took a long time to hear back and I tough I would not get the job, but one day they called and said “Do you want the Job?”, and I said yes!
I was so Happy! I decided to fire my old Job Coach who did not believe in me and hired a Job Coach that used to work with me at home and was good with Computers. As a Self Advocate Coordinator, I have been directly involved in legislative efforts to change the name of DMR to DDS and implement the use of People First Language through Connecticut laws. As a Self Advocate Coordinator, part of my job is to keep other SA team members informed on what is happening at the Capitol focusing on laws that directly affect DDS or people with mental health and developmental disabilities. As a Self Advocate Coordinator part of my job is to meet with different agency’s and help them start there own Self Advocacy Groups witch I am working hard on now. As a Self Advocate Coordinator, I have participated in staff trainings for DDS employees from the perspective of a user of services. I have done educational workshops at area conferences such as, SEIU 1099 and AAWA conferences. I collaborated with Planned Parenthood to create their Healthy Relationships curriculum and offered technical support to Opportunity Works to develop their own self advocacy group. I helped create the Level of Need survey and have completed Core Indicator Surveys on fellow consumers. I am trained as an IP Buddy to support and protect the rights of consumers in their DDS IP process. I have attended Family Forums. Through Community Access TV I have appeared on MARC MATTERS and appeared with past Commissioner Peter O'Meara on CTV14 Public Access. I was in the Employment Idol in 2005 video that helps promote the employment of people with disabilities, and consulted on the development of the “Consumer Corner” website. I have received the “Everyday Hero” award from my work on Human Rights. I love my Job. I have been working as a Self Advocate Coordinator for 9 years. It’s great and I think all people with disabilities should get real work for real pay!!!